The Mission of the Heart is a collection of mostly brief, contemplative, spiritual pieces in which we sense the author’s need to reach us, to elucidate matters of faith, integrity and relationships with confidence and warmth.
Too often, though, Amethyst Stone seems to be groping to find articulation as a poet, struggling between the demands of lyricism and cogency. Some poems (“For Today, The Right Path”) are fairly clear, but numerous others are difficult to follow, for example: “So I pray that Life my hold for you / Love, Peace and Joy thought / out your day.”
It’s not always easy to determine whether clarity is lacking for technical reasons (typos, misspelling, grammatical errors) or literary license on the part of Stone. In addition, the poems seem like a pastiche of snippets, adages, explanations and musings. Fragmentation is fine when it lends itself to reader participation, but few of the pieces here feel organic, resolved or autonomous.
In the hands of more experienced poets, intuitive or associative logic, rather than linear, can be used with nuance and finesse. A poem such as e.e. cummings’ “anyone lived in a pretty how town” can break the rules because cummings understood the nature of the boundaries he was ignoring. Perhaps in her desire to shine as a writer, Stone is reaching beyond her present capabilities. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to soar, but she needs to learn juggling before she tries the trapeze.
If we view The Mission of the Heart as one woman’s search for expressing the yearning and comfort that comes from embracing a loving existence and higher power, this collection is not without its charms. One hopes Stone can grant herself the time and room to find her authoritative, accessible poetic voice. If so, she may just be able to take the leap into the phenomenal.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.